Rarely does a commencement speech tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Graduating from high school, college, or graduate school is a happy occasion. Perhaps that’s why commencement speakers typically endeavor to fuel the happiness in the room by piling on promises of greatness and further happiness yet to be achieved. Commencement is “a beginning or a start”. . . and who would feel good about completing a course of study that would lead anywhere else but toward what the world defines as “success.” Uttering anything sobering would put a damper on what is to be a joyous occasion, wouldn’t it?
This is where the wisdom of the aged is most beneficial. Put someone up there who has spent decades walking the path at which graduates stand ready to walk. Put someone up there who tells the truth. . . about the beauty and the dangers which graduates will encounter on their walk. The best, most beneficial, and loving encouragement one can give is the truth.
Yesterday, I watched what might be the best and most honest commencement speech I’ve ever seen. It was given to this year’s graduates of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio by 85-year-old philosopher and professor Peter Kreeft. It’s loaded with wisdom and truth. Kreeft delivers a practical, honest, and humorous message to graduates about the lies they need to recognize and avoid as they commence on a lifetime of service to Jesus Christ, whatever their vocation. It’s good. . . very good.
I would guess that most of you reading this are followers of Jesus Christ. If so, Kreeft’s words will equip you to see things as they really are so that you might follow Jesus well. I also know that many of you are parents, youth workers, and pastors. Not only are you followers, but you are leaders of young lives. Kreeft’s words will give you teaching/talking points to help the children and teens you lead discern truth in the midst of culture’s compelling and convincing lies. Please take 19 minutes and give this a look. . .